We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The Tripadvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
Open today: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Save
Review Highlights
Amazing Experience

I had been working with Dave for a few months on touring Big Sur, Pebble Beach and Monterey. Due... read more

Reviewed 1 week ago
405jonl
,
Saint Simons Island, Georgia
Feel instantly in good hands with Dave

Dave was a terrific tour guide and drove us through Big Sur from our hotel in Carmel. It was a... read more

Reviewed February 27, 2020
KarenF940
,
Westfield, New Jersey
via mobile
Read all 252 reviews
  
Recommended experiences in and around Big Sur
from $906.67
More Info
Reviews (252)
Filter reviews
252 results
Traveler rating
235
14
3
0
0
Traveler type
Time of year
LanguageAll languages
More languages
Traveler rating
235
14
3
0
0
Show reviews that mention
All reviews pebble beach dave engelberg personalized tour great tour hawthorne gallery hearst castle great sense of humor knew exactly where recommend booking a tour safe driver mile drive monterey carmel wine tasting bixby bridge elephant seals take pictures highlight of our trip
Selected filters
Filter
Updating list...
129 - 134 of 252 reviews
Reviewed September 21, 2014

It’s been twenty long days now since I drove Big Sur with Dave; I still think about the experience every day and am guaranteed to do so for the foreseeable future. Since I came back from holiday, I’ve been working full time and I’ve been quite nervous about reviewing such an awesome trip whilst trapped in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, for fear of selling it short. But it’s a sunny Sunday morning now and I’ll try my best.

For me, the Big Sur experience began long before I hopped in the car parked up on ‘The Breakfast Club’ car park, Seaside, CA. Full up with the Big Sur nostalgia gathered from great books and great friends, I was quite determined to check it out. Unable to drive, I began to investigate other options and that was when I found Dave’s website. I emailed him and his response was immediate and maintained over a couple of months, right up until the morning of the drive! I cannot express my gratitude for his dedication to fulfilling my dream of driving Big Sur… I was traveling Seattle>San Diego with five other friends and breaking away from them for Big Sur, meaning that pinning down solid plans was nigh on impossible and I’m sure that Dave suffered the ripple effect of this. Nevertheless, plans were hatched for Dave to drive me half way down the Big Sur coast before turning round and depositing me at Salinas Amtrak in time to catch the train to Los Angeles. I was traveling alone on Labour Day, and Dave was very attentive in seeing that my travel arrangements were feasible.

We met around 8am and quickly got on the road, fog lingered over the landscape, struggling to hold back the California sunlight. The landscapes were stunning and the road magical. Sticking to a schedule in order to catch the train Dave gaged the pace of the driving and schooled me in his method of snapping Big Sur (complete with warnings when good photograph compositions were approaching and countdowns to their disappearance)… though I might add that this quick approach was catered to me, and that he personalises each tour to each person. My research is about driving American roads, so this method really appealed to me more than a different style, such as getting out of the car and walking around a bit more.

The road changed constantly and the scenery with it; ever varied, ever breath-taking. From pine-lined and shady forest routes, to driving through holes gauged out of mountains, to taking in Bixby Bridge in the mid-morning fog. Big Sur is an intricate balance of man and nature; Highway 1 dancing through untouched beauty. Every mile brought a new view to see and a new vibe to feel.

About thirty miles into the journey, Dave delivered the great news that instead of doubling back to Salinas Amtrak, he would drive me straight on to San Louis Obispo Amtrak… a great act of kindness, considering the long journey ahead of me and my eagerness to see Big Sur, reinforcing my excitement. Along the route we had many options of places to stop. In particular, we opted to pull over for a caffeine pit stop at ‘The Big Sur Bakery,’ paused at ‘Nepenthe,’ stopped off to say hello to some elephant seals, checked out Harmony and took a walk around Morro Bay… not to mention countless breaks to soak up and photograph the gorgeous scenery.

Upon encountering people at said stops, Dave would heartily strike up conversation and introduce me – whether he knew the people or not (he mostly did). This reflects not only his deep knowledge of Big Sur, its people and its places, but also his extreme willingness to engage. This brings me onto the best and last part of my review; Dave himself.

It’s a real gift in this world to find someone who is passionate about what they do, but it’s no coincidence. To quote AMC’s ‘Mad Men:’ ‘this is America, pick a job and become the person that does it.’ Dave is one of those wonderful people who breaks that mould; he loves to drive and talk about Big Sur and that’s exactly what he’s going to do. He created and job to suit his love. It’s really inspiring to be around that kind of energy.

An engaging and vibrant personality, I couldn’t have asked for a better companion to drive Big Sur with. Perceptive, interesting, and full of good stories – from an encounter with John Lennon to tennis tours around Europe, Dave has lived a lot and his company delivers his excitement for life to you by proxy. From real, deep, philosophical talk, to quoting the dialogue from the old Beatles cartoons (he knows it word-for-word!), to playing the name game, to stretches of comfortable silence, to some excellent radio station and CD DJing from Dave, the atmosphere was solidly marvellous throughout. I felt a real connection with Dave and was so pleased to have met such a great character.

Sad that it was at an end, we pulled up at SLO Amtrak, Dave saw me safely onto the train and we parted ways. I sped along the tracks to San Diego positively brimming with happiness. What a wonderful way to spend Labour Day.

Thank you so, so much Dave. To quote you back at you ‘always remember that you totally soak!’

Best,

Hayley/Tricia/Carla

Date of experience: September 2014
2  Thank Hayley M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 16, 2014

If you can get the HWY 1 from SF to LA you should!! Gorgeous views! You are going to stop every 2 min to take pictures! hehehe

Date of experience: June 2014
2  Thank Sara G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 11, 2014

Driving Big Sur with Dave was a brilliant experience! I wanted to give my parents a once in a lifetime experience and that it was. Being with Dave helped us navigate the place through with extreme ease and he took us to many more spots than we could ask. Pfeiffer beach, Nepenthe and the redwoods were a treat - Big Sur was like a whole new world and Dave made the drive entertaining and interesting with his tidbits of knowledge that he's gained in all his years out there. I'm sure if i were to do it again, it would be with him, without a doubt!

Date of experience: September 2014
Thank Poonam C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 2, 2014

Being from the Midwest and having never been to the West Coast, I felt it would be best to have someone who knew the area show my father and I around. I am glad I chose Dave to be our guide. His knowledge of the area and witty conversation made the experience memorable and enjoyable. Dave has an uncanny ability to judge the interests of his respective parties and provide them with a tour based on that information. He can take you to areas of Big Sur that without experience, you would unlikely go on your own. The personal touch he adds to the tour is one thing that helps make the experience more memorable. Even after the tour was over he was able to recommend a great place to eat in Monterey and gain us access to 17 Mile Drive as guests. Overall Dave provides excellent service at reasonable price and I have no regrets for having him as our guide.

Date of experience: August 2014
1  Thank Daniel S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 2, 2014

Dave was our tour guide for our Big Sur trip on 8/30. There were five of us and this was our first Big Sur trip, including family from Boston where this was also their first California trip. Dave was very knowledgeable and entertaining. He allowed us to maximize our sightseeing and hit all the top spots.

We had an outstanding experience and highly recommend Dave. We will take his tour again when our next visitors arrive.

Date of experience: August 2014
Thank Brian H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
View more reviews